Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Little Tent in the Bush"

            Many days I reflect on how much I feel like I am living “Little House on the Prairie”.  I loved that show growing up, and maybe I secretly longed to live like that.  Was that God preparing me to live in Sudan?  I was sharing with Kevin that life feels normal here.  That is a weird feeling since nothing about our lives is “normal” as we would think of normal.  But, what is normal as a Christian?  Serving one another, reflecting the character and love of God, caring for the widows and orphans, honoring, respecting, and loving your spouse, and walking with our creator daily, these things are normal.   I am spending time observing the culture here and the people around me so I can truly see them and love them as Jesus would.  I am a student as I learn from this culture and learn Arabic so I can communicate.  
I am thankful for a young woman, Susan Bakhita, we have hired to help us take care of Abigail, with some chores, and language learning.  Our heart, in who we hired, was to help support a widow in the community.  This young woman lives with her grandmother, who is blind.  In providing her a job, we are helping support her and her grandmother.    She is a member of the church where Romano pastors and hopes to minister in the church one day.  I am thankful for a Godly young woman to learn from. 

                 Mixing Soil for the blocks

The building progress is coming along!  We have a man from a company called Hydraform, where we purchased our block making machine, here training our guys to make blocks and build our first building.


 Our first "Life Saving" blocks!         

We are thankful to have found soil 50 yards away from our compound that will be used to make these blocks.  We won’t have to truck in the soil.  The blocks are designed to fit together and will make our building process quick and smooth.  Next week we hope to begin building our administrative building.  We have the foundation dug for this. 


Abigail continues to grow and win the hearts of those she meets with her smile and big blue eyes!  She is beginning to test her ability to stand.  I find her standing over her toy box to reach the books that are behind and standing up in the bath.  Recently, she stood in the bath and looked up at us while she slowly took both hands off of the side of the wash basin to stand UNASSISTED!    We were amazed.  She seemed very proud of herself.  It is hard to believe she will be a year old in less than a month.  She enjoyed sharing her Veggie Tale video, “God Made You Special” with our compound cook’s children.  They seemed excited to see a video probably for the first time ever!

Here are some things we enjoy and that make our lives abnormal here in the bush. . .
  • Making popcorn on the stove top, not in the microwave
  • Setting the mouse traps before bed
  • Filling the water filters twice a day
  • Washing cloth diapers in a wash basin
  • Having our “sink” on the ground in 2 wash basins
  • Looking overhead for creatures (snakes) when you enter the pit latrine
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net
  • Falling asleep to the sound of the generator, praise God for some electricity!
  • Abigail enjoying playing in the tent in her toy box before it gets too hot!
  • Beautiful sunrises and sunsets
  • Staff and family devotions
  • Playing guitar and singing in the evenings
  • “If you see vegetables in the market, you better get them. . . they may not be there tomorrow”.
  • Washing clothes in a plastic tub with a wash board and hanging them on a clothes line to dry (did I mention “Little House on the Prairie”?).
  • Seeing chickens roam the compound, not normal for us anyway.
  • Pit latrines and bucket baths
  • VERY bumpy roads
  • Cooking and living outdoors
  • HOMEMADE egg plant parmesan, spaghetti, pizza, creamy garlic pasta, potato salad, curried lentils, Mexican re-fried beans and Spanish rice with avocado salsa and homemade tortillas, eggplant stew and rice, tuna salad
  • Dinner by headlamp instead of candlelight
  • Porcupine for dinner. . . they really are going to eat it!

Please pray with us for the first ever “free and democratic” Presidential election coming up on Sunday, March 11.  This is a critical time for the Sudanese people.   Please pray for a peaceful process and vote.  Pray that our building process will continue to go smoothly.  Pray for Kevin, Abigail, and I as we are flying to Nairobi on April 7 for a respite and time for reflection and personal growth.  Pray that we will be open and listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we live our daily lives in Sudan

Love, Kevin, Shalene, and Abigail


  1. I loved Little House on the Prairie too! I am loving hearing about your daily life. So, did you taste the porcupine? taste like chicken?

  2. No, I didn't taste the porcupine. Wasn't that brave!